All around the world, offices are shutting down and many workers are forced to work remotely. People that have never experienced transitioning part their home into an office are struggling and facing questions like…
Why am I so tired and why can’t I focus?
Why have I been on the computer for 16 hours for no reason whatsoever?
Why can’t I stop eating snacks? #relatable
I’ve been working for myself for 4 years now and, though as a travel blogger I’ve spent a lot of time making airplane tray tables my office, I’ve worked from home a lot more than the average person.
I know the deal… At first, working from home seems fun and freeing (maybe you felt like this when restrictions first started).
Then, all of a sudden it feels like nothing is getting done (maybe you feel like this now).
And finally, habits and a routine appear that increase productivity and happiness times a million (where you want to be). The goal in this article is to get you to this place by sharing my top ten tips for working from home.
Get ready for the day
The novelty of wearing PJs all day wears off fast, so once you start to see productivity declining, commit to getting ready for the day.
It might feel silly (“Who TF is going to see me anyway?”), but it’s a little change that will have massive impacts on your level of productivity, confidence and mood.
Dedicate 15-30 minutes prior to sitting down at your computer to throwing clothes on and putting on a bit of simple makeup.
And BTW – by clothes, I’m not talking a full-blown pantsuit or even jeans if you don’t feel like it. We all know the casual sweatsuit & snatched makeup look has made a rise recently and honestly, that’s been my OOTD for the last few weeks. Linked at the bottom of this post are some of my fave leisure and activewear that I’ve been wearing around the house recently.
Create a morning and nighttime routine
If you don’t already have a morning and nighttime routine, make one for yourself. It’ll bring some normalcy to the day. Here are some ideas for what your morning and nighttime routines might include:
- Meditation. I love the Calm app for doing a quick, but impactful, 10 minute meditation.
- Journaling. This isn’t something I do, but is a practice I’m heard from others is extremely grounding in the morning. And honestly – I think we all stand to spend 5 minutes in the morning writing down what we’re grateful for.
- Make your morning coffee or tea.
- Listen to a podcast. This is a non-negotiable in my routine. I turn on a podcast 5 minutes after I wake up and listen while I make coffee, do my morning skincare, and put on makeup. My favorite podcasts right now are The Daily and Almost 30. And If I can shamelessly plug my own podcast, Her Life By Design… I recommend listening to the recent episode called “Navigating Life and Business During COVID-19.”
- Read a book… preferably with your phone no where nearby.
- Do yoga. Check out Alo Moves from Alo Yoga!
- Catch up on a TV show.
- Do your skincare routine.
Establish a “commute” time
This has been one of the most game-changing tips for working from home for me. When you live and work in the same space, it’s hard to create boundaries. After all, your computer is 20 feet from your bed and vice-versa.
(those measurements are based on my NYC apartment 😂)
It’s really easy to jump back into work at 8pm or just never put your laptop away, so choose a “commute time,” aka the time that you will close your computer and shift to personal time. Be really consistent and commited about this!
Get your phone out of sight, out of mind
Typically in an office environment, you wouldn’t be able to spend much time on your phone scrolling social media or answering texts. Create that same scenario for yourself at home.
For me, it’s usually too tempting to keep my phone near me, even if it’s flipped down. So it stays in the bedroom while I’m out working in the living room.
Use a time blocking app
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the last. Using a time-blocking app like Toggl or a time-blocking cube like this one helps you focus and stay hyper productive for a set amount of time.
When I work, I typically use the Pomodoro method where you work for 25 minutes followed by a 5 minute break. After 4-5 of those, you take a longer break for 20 minutes. Trust me on this one!
Plan out your meals in advance
Ok yeah, I also ate all my quarantine snacks on day 1, but if we keep that going until day 30… Things aren’t going to be cute around here. 😂
To prevent myself from snacking, I always plan out my next days’ worth of meals the night before. Not obsessively, but just enough that I have an idea of what I’ll have during mealtime and what I’ll snack on.
Make time for self-care
This is always important, but is especially relevant right now when we are living in such an unprecedented time of uncertainty.
These are my favorite ways to practice self-care:
Taking a long bath, always with candles, wine, a book, and dim lighting.
Skincare routine. I mentioned this above, but my skincare regimen is part of my daily routine and is one of my favorite ways to practice self-care. If you don’t have an over-the-top 5-step routine like I do (don’t blame you!), just treat yourself with a hydrating face mask. This is my favorite for clearing my pores and this is my favorite for moisturizing.
Creative projects. You don’t need to be an expert to try your hand at watercolor, painting, mosaics or drawing. Kits by Let’s Make Art have been a favorite of mine recently. Art is such a great way to divert your attention away from stress.
Move your body
Make time to workout! Here are some of my favorite at-home workout programs that require no (or minimal) equipment:
- Barre 3 – Online classes from Barre 3 that range from 30 – 60 mins.
- Lia Bartha – Creater of a pilates-based workout that promotes long, lean lines. She goes live most mornings.
- One Peloton – A variety of intermediate to challenging workouts. No bike required! Many of them don’t require any equipment.
- Kayla Itsines – Kayla has a cult following behind her workout program, which you can access on the app SWEAT. And for good reason… they’re killer.
Don’t confuse home with office
This is one of those tips for working from home that you wouldn’t necessarily think about!
Don’t do things during work hours that you wouldn’t do at the office! Meaning, don’t clean your house during work hours. Don’t do the dishes or laundry. Your work hours are your time to get work done, not tend to household chores. Like I mentioned in tip #3, leave these tasks for after you’ve “commuted” and are in full personal time.
Make time to connect with co-workers and friends
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced ever since I started to work from home was making the time to meet up with friends. So whether you work at home normally or are forced to during this time, make socializing with others a priority.
Schedule happy hours on Zoom or Skype with your friends multiple times during the week, and commit to the date!
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